Several Bathtub Billy's employees test positive for COVID-19

Patrick Moussignac
Created: November 06, 2020 11:27 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Monroe County Public Health Department is warning the public about possible COVID-19 exposure at a local bar and restaurant. Health officials are urging anyone who visited Bathtub Billy's in late October to get tested after nearly a dozen employees contracted the virus.

They're also questioning if the restaurant followed all the guidance to lessen the risk of infection. News10NBC talked to owner Matt Reis, who is also recovering after testing positive this week. Reis wanted to set the record straight on how the virus spread through his business and talked about what it will take to reopen again. 

It's been almost a full week now since Bathtub Billy's on West Ridge Road temporarily shut down after numerous employees tested positive for the coronavirus. Reis says out of his 30 employees, he's one of 10 at the restaurant that tested positive. 

"I didn't know until I lost taste on Monday, so you know through Sunday I was fine no problem," Reis said.

He says contact tracing began with a regular customer that was at the bar last Friday. It's believed that the case started the spread.

"Yeah, unfortunately, and you know he feels terrible about it, but it's not his fault either. You don't know you have it until you get the symptoms, and by the time you get the symptoms you've already spread it to everybody else," Reis said.

From there Reis says the virus hit the restaurant as employees gathered after work.

"The thing is we're a close-knit family," Reis said. "We work together. We're like family. You know so we do everything together, so unfortunately when one of us got it, it was bound to spread to more of us."

Reis says the restaurant had a strict policy when it came to following the guidelines set for all restaurants in the state.

"Obviously we've been doing this eight months, eight months we were probably the busiest takeout place to go in Rochester. We absolutely were crushed every night. Dealt with thousands and thousands of people, and we never had any cases at all," Reis said.

Since the restaurant closed it has since been professionally deep cleaned. Reis says so far 13 of his employees have tested negative for the virus. Still not enough to reopen the restaurant.

"Honestly I need 20 negative results to have a full staff," Reis said. "I'm not going to reopen until I have a full staff, and we know we could be safe."

If you visited Bathtub Billy's between Sunday, Oct. 25 and this past Sunday, Nov. 1, you are urged by the Department of Public Health to get tested and to start self-quarantining immediately.

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